FKA USA
Reed King’s amazingly audacious novel is something of a cross between L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Douglas Adams’s A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and Ernie Cline’s Ready Player One.In Reed King’s wildly imaginative and possibly prescient debut, the United States has dissolved in the wake of environmental disasters and the catastrophic policies of its final president.It is 2085, and Truckee Wallace, a factory worker in Crunchtown 407 (formerly Little Rock, Arkansas, before the secessions), has no grand ambitions besides maybe, possibly, losing his virginity someday.But when Truckee is thrust unexpectedly into the spotlight he is tapped by the President for a sensitive political mission: to deliver a talking goat across the continent. The fate of the world depends upon it.The problem is—Truckee’s not sure it’s worth it.Joined on the road by an android who wants to be human and a former convict lobotomized in Texas, Truckee will navigate an environmentally depleted and lawless continent with devastating—and hilarious—parallels to our own, dodging body pickers and Elvis-worshippers and logo girls, body subbers, and VR addicts.Elvis-willing, he may even lose his virginity.FKA USA is the epic novel we’ve all been waiting for about the American end of times, with its unavoidable sense of being on the wrong end of the roller coaster ride. It is a masterwork of ambition, humor, and satire with the power to make us cry, despair, and laugh out loud all at once. It is a tour de force unlike anything else you will read this year.

FKA USA Details

TitleFKA USA
Author
ReleaseJun 18th, 2019
PublisherFlatiron Books
ISBN-139781250108890
Rating
GenreFiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia

FKA USA Review

  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    FKA stands for "Formerly Known As." Sort of like AKA is "also known as." This novel presents a post-dissolution view of North America after wars, famine, etc., split the country up into different entities ranging from the corporate entities like Crunch to the Free State of Texas. It's now in the 2070's a divided country with borders, different currencies, etc. Crunch is a corporate run country on former Arkansas land, producing artificial chemical foods by workers living in hopeless shantytowns FKA stands for "Formerly Known As." Sort of like AKA is "also known as." This novel presents a post-dissolution view of North America after wars, famine, etc., split the country up into different entities ranging from the corporate entities like Crunch to the Free State of Texas. It's now in the 2070's a divided country with borders, different currencies, etc. Crunch is a corporate run country on former Arkansas land, producing artificial chemical foods by workers living in hopeless shantytowns and plagued by drug addiction, boredom, angst. There's still a World Wide Web of sorts, virtual reality, and androids, including mindless automatons, android whores, and androids developing consciousness and feelings. Many area of the country are desolate, depopulated, radioactive, strip-mined, fracked, and others hosting Russian and Chinese colonies. It's sort of Mad Max country outside the corporate factory worlds. But not a dystopia since no one tried to create a utopia. The book is irreverent, gritty, sarcastic. It pays homage to Hitchhiker's Guide with each chapter featuring a selection from the Grifter's Guide. A sixteen year old nobody makes his way cross country with a metal person (Sam), a Strawman whose brain has been sliced and diced (Tiny Tim), and a talking but cowardly goat ( Barnaby), paying homage to another legendary work. The book doesn't sent always take itself too seriously and there's gallows humor and scat humor abounding. I enjoyed this a lot as the motley crew explored the world, although their underlying mission was a bit too goofy. I have a sense though the audience for this is more limited than expansive.
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  • Bandit
    January 1, 1970
    I’m always up for a dystopia, but had I been aware of this one’s voluminous page count, not sure I would have read it. Conciseness…I’m a huge fan of conciseness, precision, succinctness, just a basic ability to tell a story in, say, 300 pages. 400 if you must. Going close to 500 is seldom justified (and often just self indulgent), unless you’re Tolstoy or similar. But this novel does have a lot to say for all its verbosity. In the near future (end of 2100s) the country Formerly Known As USA is n I’m always up for a dystopia, but had I been aware of this one’s voluminous page count, not sure I would have read it. Conciseness…I’m a huge fan of conciseness, precision, succinctness, just a basic ability to tell a story in, say, 300 pages. 400 if you must. Going close to 500 is seldom justified (and often just self indulgent), unless you’re Tolstoy or similar. But this novel does have a lot to say for all its verbosity. In the near future (end of 2100s) the country Formerly Known As USA is no more. Instead it’s a disjointed conglomerate of city states and territories, some wilder than others and most devastated by environmental and political catastrophes. And one 16 year old (don’t worry, he reads older or at least mature enough) must travel across this new and hostile land on an important mission that might just save the world. But not alone. Truckee is joined by scene stealing companions of android and mammalian persuasion. In fact, the latter, Barnaby, absolutely made the book for me. I didn’t get into it really until he showed up and he carried every scene, absolutely one of the best literary animal creations of all time. Having read and eaten his way through a library, he’s also the smartest of the bunch and…eventually…just as courageous. But Barnaby’s star appeal aside, this book really did have much to offer. It’s an epic journey story and as such it is populated accordingly with strange characters and stranger places, limited only by the author’s imagination, which you’d be quite happy to find out, is pretty limit free. So you get an ultimate quest story and a humorous one at that and although at times exhausting, it’s always entertaining and the main takeaway upon finishing is…what a great adventure. Page count justified. This is fun. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    Had it not been for the free ARC I received from NetGalley, I would most likely not have finished this book. The overall story arc was a typical quest story. But the incessant use of lingo from the dystopian future was too much. And while the footnotes, which I generally like in a book, were so intrusive in the story, I found that I lost track of the plot while trying to figure out what the background info was. There were also many times where the end of one chapter didn't coincide enough with t Had it not been for the free ARC I received from NetGalley, I would most likely not have finished this book. The overall story arc was a typical quest story. But the incessant use of lingo from the dystopian future was too much. And while the footnotes, which I generally like in a book, were so intrusive in the story, I found that I lost track of the plot while trying to figure out what the background info was. There were also many times where the end of one chapter didn't coincide enough with the beginning of another chapter, and times where there was so much detail it was boring, but others where there was no detail and the tale got lost. King just tried to do too much I think. Also, I know the point was that people are not educated, but the constant use of should/could/would "of" instead of have was unnecessary and confusing.
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  • Sydney Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Flatiron Books for the ARC! “How would you like to save the world, son?” FKA USA is a wild ride. If you’re tired of reading the same old formulaic dystopian novel, this is the book for you. There are some tropes, such as the evil government/corporations stuff, but it's done in a way that feels fresh. In my opinion, this is definitely a unique take on a dystopian sci-fi adventure story that involves some odd and fun characters and an odd and funny mission (which I'll summarize more Thank you to Flatiron Books for the ARC! “How would you like to save the world, son?” FKA USA is a wild ride. If you’re tired of reading the same old formulaic dystopian novel, this is the book for you. There are some tropes, such as the evil government/corporations stuff, but it's done in a way that feels fresh. In my opinion, this is definitely a unique take on a dystopian sci-fi adventure story that involves some odd and fun characters and an odd and funny mission (which I'll summarize more with a quote a little further down). We’re dropped in the middle of a place “Formally Known As the USA” in the year 2085 with Truckee, an orphan who is basically a slave to the society he lives in (pretty much Hell) and a talking goat. There are other characters along the way, scientists, politicians, sentient androids, victims of radiation and chemical deformities, villains, and more, but Truckee and this talking goat are our main dudes. “The tortures mankind devises for its amusement will surely render the devil redundant.” Life is…not great in the territories formally known as the USA. This is not all fluffy humor. So keep that in mind. “I’m a firm believer in the right of every man, woman, and animal to end his or her life by choice, with dignity. We don’t choose the moment of our birth, and we certainly don’t choose the form our lives take on this pitiful planet. But we may choose the manner of our passing into the Great Pasture.” Our current time here in 2019 is far from a utopia, but it’s nothing compared to the nightmare of the Territories FKA the USA. That being said, the president of this hellish future says, “Nostalgia’s awful, son, I’ll tell you that too. The past has the advantage of being harmless. Even predators look pretty, so long as they’re good and dead.” If you’re a fan of books with maps, footnotes, and appendices, this is definitely the book for you. Thank you, Reed King, for giving the people what they want. I’m honestly most impressed with these three aspects. I’m one of those readers who salivates over maps, and these maps are awesome. There is a map in the inside cover of the book that shows the entirety of what used to be the United States of America, and there are also 6 maps before each of the 6 parts in this book. Those 6 are more detailed closeups of locations that show the path traveled. So 7 maps total. They’re beautiful and oh so appreciated. The footnotes are also something I love but rarely see in fantasy or science fiction books (or really any books that aren’t classic literature/poetry or nonfiction). I really appreciated the footnotes because we were just dropped into this complex world, and the footnotes provide a history lesson of sorts. Since the book is told as a “true story”, as if an editor found an autobiography many years after the events in the story, the footnotes and appendices kind of serve as editor’s notes. There are so many footnotes, and I can’t imagine this book without them. At times it felt like an overload of information, but the challenge was welcome. Crunchbucks, crumbs and uppercrusts, grifters, accidental persons, transspeciating, feeds, crazy new drugs like Shiver and Jump (and the “dimeheads” who abuse them), the Burnham Prize (a race to beat death), every single new element of the geography of the country formally known as the USA, and so much more. It’s a lot, but in a good way. If you're a fan of the show Black Mirror, this is the book for you. Technology plays a big role in this future, in a very interesting way. To quote Truckee, “You can make technology as smart as you want, but you can bet bank humans will be stupid about it.” This is also a world where social interactions are mostly had via “feeds” and VR, and a world where “physical contact without verbal consent was illegal in the colony— which wasn’t a bad thing, exactly, but made it pretty awkward for a sixteen-year-old kid hoping and praying he wouldn’t always be a virgin.” We see a very interesting view of how technology, science, and society interact in a dark vision of the future. If you love 1984 and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this is the book for you. We have the capitalist, controlling dystopian government, the insane hierarchy of class and wealth, a rich new vocabulary, a darkly bizarre humor, and funny characters on an adventure. There’s even a book called The Grifter’s Guide to the Territories FKA USA that’s continuously referenced and quoted at the beginning of chapters. The sections we see are usually both funny and sad. A pretty great summary of the book is actually a line that also demonstrates the kind humor you’ll find while reading: “I’d never been big on weed, not compared to everyone else I knew—Jared vaped every morning and even Annalee liked to take blueberry-flavored fresh on her lunch breaks— but since I was sneaking into enemy territory to deliver brain cells to a Crunch sleeper agent in the hopes that we could stop a global apocalypse of mind-controlled zombies, I figured it was as good a time to get high as any.” It’s ambitious and quite an impressive feat of complex world-building. I wrote a lot more notes on my post-its than I’m used to, but again, I was happy to do it. It’s a dream come true to readers like me who like to make little “guides”, if you will, to books you’re reading. There are so many great quotes I saved and I wish I could share them all, but I don’t want to fill this review with spoiler tags. This book definitely isn’t for the average reader. It isn’t an easy read. You have to completely immerse yourself in the world and keep track of details and characters. It’s important to know that before diving in because this book is an investment. I haven’t read a book like this before, and I think it could’ve been too overwhelming to enjoy if the story wasn’t so immersive and interesting. The impressive writing and friendly/familiar/playfully dark narrative voice definitely help. Reed King is a skilled writer, you can’t argue that. (A quick search says "Reed King is the pseudonym of a New York Times bestselling author and TV writer", so I'm just going to use "he" and assume King a guy). His imagination is a powerful drug, and I hope he continues to produce and share with the world. This is a special book but it is an acquired taste and not for everyone. I recommend FKA USA to anyone with the determination to slug through a dense, lengthy book, and to anyone who feels bored by the sameness-structure of the genre.
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  • Claire Draper
    January 1, 1970
    Reed King is an amazing writer. And though I wonder who this bestselling author is writing under the pseudonym Reed King, I think they did an amazing job. This world is immersive and the writing is crazy good. Can't wait for more from this author. And who doesn't love a book with a talking goat that's kind of a weirdo? It's such a great read, and it's easy to see why booksellers are loving this book. Oh and the twists and turns are amazing! So unexpected.
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  • Laura Denton
    January 1, 1970
    I got an electronic version of this book through NetGalley. I was enticed by the publisher's blurb and do, generally, enjoy dystopian novels, sarcasm and intrigue, but I just could not tolerate the premise of the story or the writing. I managed to get through about 15 pages and gave up. Then, I felt like I should give it a second chance, but - sorry - no. It is rare that I have this kind of reaction. This was one of the few times that I've taken this advice from my mother (an English Lit major a I got an electronic version of this book through NetGalley. I was enticed by the publisher's blurb and do, generally, enjoy dystopian novels, sarcasm and intrigue, but I just could not tolerate the premise of the story or the writing. I managed to get through about 15 pages and gave up. Then, I felt like I should give it a second chance, but - sorry - no. It is rare that I have this kind of reaction. This was one of the few times that I've taken this advice from my mother (an English Lit major and a librarian) on reading, "If you don't like it, don't read it. There are plenty of other books in the world. If it's an assignment, then you'd better finish. Otherwise, move on!"
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  • Roger Bailey
    January 1, 1970
    There is no doubt Reed King went all out in this novel. He has an epic world with crazy characters. The writing is good, the humor is sly. For me however this book didn't work. Too many sci-fi cliches; dystopian world ran by corporation-government hybrids, a mission of travel that hits bumps along the way, etc. King shows promise and I would read again, but this one felt like someone who wanted to show everything they got in their debut and ended up throwing in the kitchen sink. ---I received an There is no doubt Reed King went all out in this novel. He has an epic world with crazy characters. The writing is good, the humor is sly. For me however this book didn't work. Too many sci-fi cliches; dystopian world ran by corporation-government hybrids, a mission of travel that hits bumps along the way, etc. King shows promise and I would read again, but this one felt like someone who wanted to show everything they got in their debut and ended up throwing in the kitchen sink. ---I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Tonstant Weader
    January 1, 1970
    The book reviews that I struggle with the most are for those books that I fall in love with. I want to say “Trust me, just read it.” FKA USA by Reed King is one of those books. Trust me, just read it.The title FKA USA is for Formerly Known As, though every time I saw it on the cover or the spine, my mind saw Effing-A USA. Am I wrong? When you read this, as you must, you will see there are reasons why it should be that.Imagine The Wizard of Oz in 2085 when the United States has fractured into war The book reviews that I struggle with the most are for those books that I fall in love with. I want to say “Trust me, just read it.” FKA USA by Reed King is one of those books. Trust me, just read it.The title FKA USA is for Formerly Known As, though every time I saw it on the cover or the spine, my mind saw Effing-A USA. Am I wrong? When you read this, as you must, you will see there are reasons why it should be that.Imagine The Wizard of Oz in 2085 when the United States has fractured into warring regions following the climate change chickens coming home to roost, or more accurately to die in the Great Die Off. There have been cataclysmic quakes breaking off large chunks of California and erasing Hawaii. Rising sea levels have erased most of Florida and the Gulf. Corporate dominance has expanded to the decree that the employee handbook is the constitution.In this broken country, Truckee Wallace is sent on a secret mission to cross the country to San Francisco to deliver a talking fainting goat o a great scientist and save humanity. An android sneaks along on the first leg, hoping to go with him as far as the Independent Nation of Engineered People-Things, an android nation run by ALF, the Android Liberation Front. When captured by some outlaws, the escape with a lobotomized fellow prisoner named Tiny Tim because he’s so big. The surgery is performed on criminals, reducing their intellectual capacity. The creator of this futuristic lobotomy was named Straw, and the people effected are called Straw Men.It’s a grim world, but Truckee and his friends ease on down the road encountering all sorts of people while being chased by drones and other spies. The environment is a constant challenge with drought, sun, and unpredictable storms and tornadoes. The most hilarious, though, may be when Truckee and friends are rescued and taken to an idyllic preserve where there are fresh water and home-grown fruits and vegetables, foods not processed with all sorts of chemicals. Truckee just can’t deal with the awful food.I love everything about FKA USA from the hilarious product names, all trademarked, the unique properties of the diverse states of the territories formerly known as USA. Seriously, people in the Real Friends® of the North get paid in likes, winks, and nudges while The Confederacy is militant and anti-science and unable to spread their insurrection successfully thanks to prohibiting any technology post-1868.Part of the joy is recognizing elements from “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s all there but not in-your-face. You know how a great musician can cover a familiar song and transform it so it becomes not just new and fresh, but give it new meaning. That is what Reed King does to Baum’s masterpiece.FKA USA will be published on June 18th. I received an ARC from the publisher through Shelf Awareness.FKA USA at Macmillan PublishersReed King has no author site. The name is a pseudonym.https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...
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  • Ayla van Hissenhoven
    January 1, 1970
    This book was honestly so poorly written I had to force myself to read it. The concept is good enough but the usage of foot notes and appendices on every single page is disruptive to the flow and is akin to reading a textbook. The constant use of “could of” is annoying, but “could have” is written at least once, suggesting Reed King either doesn’t know proper English or just doesn’t care enough to fix it. Either way it too disrupts the flow of reading. The book is also filled with numerous creep This book was honestly so poorly written I had to force myself to read it. The concept is good enough but the usage of foot notes and appendices on every single page is disruptive to the flow and is akin to reading a textbook. The constant use of “could of” is annoying, but “could have” is written at least once, suggesting Reed King either doesn’t know proper English or just doesn’t care enough to fix it. Either way it too disrupts the flow of reading. The book is also filled with numerous creepy and objectifying sexual comments that are, quite frankly, unnecessary to the plot and make Truckee unlikable to any reader with common sense.
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  • Robert
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to like it, and I didn’t hate it, but almost halfway through I still simply didn’t care. Reed has created a disturbing post apocalyptic America which isn’t terribly far fetched, but each chapter feels like an excuse to explore more of the degradation of society than to move the story along. I honestly can’t give a solid reason why this didn’t work for me, but each time I picked the book up I was doing so as a chore, not enjoyably. Perhaps it’s just me. Might be worth a second try anothe I wanted to like it, and I didn’t hate it, but almost halfway through I still simply didn’t care. Reed has created a disturbing post apocalyptic America which isn’t terribly far fetched, but each chapter feels like an excuse to explore more of the degradation of society than to move the story along. I honestly can’t give a solid reason why this didn’t work for me, but each time I picked the book up I was doing so as a chore, not enjoyably. Perhaps it’s just me. Might be worth a second try another time.
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  • Christopher Berry
    January 1, 1970
    This was just ok. Definitely could have been paired down a bit. I thought that the annotations did not add to the book at all. It was really out there, and that is ok. The writing did remind me of a junior high, high school level. Not bad overall, but not something I would recommend!
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  • Paula Lyle
    January 1, 1970
    This is just a big old mess of a novel, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It just bursts with ideas, many of them silly beyond belief. Like many stories set in the future, it takes a while to actually make sense of the terms and acronyms flung around. If you don't take that too seriously I think it helps. It is also longer than it has any right to be. That would be OK if there was a point to the length, but the ending is pretty abrupt and doesn't really finalize the story. Still, this is fun This is just a big old mess of a novel, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It just bursts with ideas, many of them silly beyond belief. Like many stories set in the future, it takes a while to actually make sense of the terms and acronyms flung around. If you don't take that too seriously I think it helps. It is also longer than it has any right to be. That would be OK if there was a point to the length, but the ending is pretty abrupt and doesn't really finalize the story. Still, this is fun if you are in the right mood and I wish great good luck to Truckee Wallace and his friends
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  • Katherine
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThis is one of the most unique apocalyptic takes on our future world that I have ever read. King has definitely done a lot of research and planning in organizing the fate of various countries, religions and groups. Initially, I was a bit overwhelmed by how much information is thrown at the reader (what with the long footnotes that gave miscellaneous background information and the history lessons interwoven in Truckee’s narrative). It makes the book feel like a historical tour guide acro 3.5 starsThis is one of the most unique apocalyptic takes on our future world that I have ever read. King has definitely done a lot of research and planning in organizing the fate of various countries, religions and groups. Initially, I was a bit overwhelmed by how much information is thrown at the reader (what with the long footnotes that gave miscellaneous background information and the history lessons interwoven in Truckee’s narrative). It makes the book feel like a historical tour guide across the former United States, especially with the maps that detail how geography has changed (I loved the maps, btw). I think that people who really like history and geography will be more invested in this type of book; for me, it felt too much like a text book at times, and often I found myself skipping over the longer footnotes. However, I really did enjoy seeing how the USA had changed. Strangely enough, my favorite scene was the one with the Friendly Militia. What a twisted way for them to evolve! But it was weirdly funny.I really enjoyed the road trip aspect of the book, but I never felt like the found-family aspect ever came to fruition. There was so much potential for this ragtag group of misfits and weirdoes to really bond as they journeyed together through the treacherous land the USA has become, but it never seemed to reach that point. Truckee never seems to grow as a person. Instead, his innate prejudices come to light and he doesn’t learn after confronting them. I think this stems from the fact that this book is not character driven: the driving force behind this book is a tour guide of the new (not so much improved) USA. In that aspect, it really succeeds. Unfortunately, I needed more character growth to really pull me in.If action is more your concern, never fear. This book is filled with gunfire and running, as well as a strange mission to get a fainting goat with a penchant for quoting from his memoir to a lab across the former United States. I really enjoyed the action, the mishaps, and the constant struggle against near-death. The twist towards the end managed to fool me, which was refreshing and fun. However, the conclusion left much to be desired. It didn’t feel complete. A lot happens in the span of a few pages, and then in the middle of a gunfight the book just ends. There are lots of revelations, but no resolution about what they’re going to do about it. It just needed one more chapter to round it out. Instead, I was left at the end flipping through the various appendixes in confusion.And one final nitpicky gripe: the constant use of “would of” instead of “would have”. I am the type of reader who has to reread a sentence if I don’t read it correctly in my head the first time, and every single time “would of” popped up, it would trip me up in my head and I would be forced to backtrack. I get that this is a style choice to show Truckee’s accent, but the rest of the narrative is grammatically correct so this one choice constantly annoyed me. There were two instances where “would have” was used instead, which only confused me more. I should have counted how many times “would of” was used, because it honestly felt like every other page. It’s the one thing glaring me in the face that I just could not come to terms with. And it’s so trivial! So, overall, this is definitely a dystopian-type novel that I would recommend to people. It is clever, it is funny, and it is very well thought out. It’s a fun travel read, a fun romp through a future that could very well come to be. The thought is frightening, but it makes for an interesting read.Many thanks to goodreads giveaways and Flatiron Books for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
    January 1, 1970
    I’d describe this book as The Hitchhiker’s Guide crossed with a futuristic homage to The Wizard of Oz set at the end of the world. With a talking goat.I loved this book. It is definitely one of the unique books I’ve read this year. The world that King has created is so fully realized and he shares with readers every piece of the journey, from interesting tidbits that just make the world come alive to necessary historical background that ties everything together. The framing of the book is more c I’d describe this book as The Hitchhiker’s Guide crossed with a futuristic homage to The Wizard of Oz set at the end of the world. With a talking goat.I loved this book. It is definitely one of the unique books I’ve read this year. The world that King has created is so fully realized and he shares with readers every piece of the journey, from interesting tidbits that just make the world come alive to necessary historical background that ties everything together. The framing of the book is more complicated than it appears: it’s Truckee telling his story but the whole book is filled with footnotes from an editor who seems to be from some point in the future and is filling the reader in on details through footnotes and appendices of extra information. This makes the book feel like a historical relic, like we’re reading it from some point in the future, even though it’s set in 2084. At the start of each chapter there are also hilarious notes from the “Grifter’s Guide” that Truckee follows as he makes his way across the former US of A.The general tone of the book is fun and witty—as you can see from the jacket copy. (Knock knock. Who’s there? No one, dick, it’s the end of the world. ) I found this such a fun way to read about a seriously messed up future version of our world. Instead of being all downer, the book takes on ideas like climate change and sees how far it can push: if we run out of land to grow crops, what will people eat? Well, we already eat so much processed food anyway, where would that lead? And what about robots and their potential sentience? If we are so divided about rights for people who identify as LBGTQIA+, what will we do when robots want to be considered human? Starting from where our society currently is, the book extrapolates out to the hyperbolic extremes of some potential future—one that is sort of funny to read about, but still serves as a warning to how we’re currently living.This book goes a mile a minute. I thought it would take me a long time to read it because of the length and the footnotes, but it really is just so readable. I enjoyed every minute. King’s vision would be so excellent translated to the screen—I’d love to see a movie or mini-series adaptation of this book.If dystopian future books are your thing, you have to add this one to your list. If you loved the tone and wit of Douglas Adams, this book is for you. If a talking goat sparks your interest, I probably don’t have to say any more.My thanks to Flatiron Books for my copy of this one to read and review.
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  • Keely
    January 1, 1970
    Truckee Wallace is a peon living and working in Crunchtown 407 in Crunch United Colonies, an independent corporation/nation in the territories formerly known as the United States. It’s the 2080s. The former US has suffered a variety of environmental catastrophes and total political collapse. Alaska and big chunks of California have fallen into the ocean. Life is bleak. Like most ordinary people, Truckee is viewed as expendable by the CEO types who now run everything. But when Truckee heroically Truckee Wallace is a peon living and working in Crunchtown 407 in Crunch United Colonies, an independent corporation/nation in the territories formerly known as the United States. It’s the 2080s. The former US has suffered a variety of environmental catastrophes and total political collapse. Alaska and big chunks of California have fallen into the ocean. Life is bleak. Like most ordinary people, Truckee is viewed as expendable by the CEO types who now run everything. But when Truckee heroically averts a disaster at the plant where he works, he gets the chance to do something even bigger that could save the world...or what’s left of it anyway. To succeed, he’ll have to deliver a talking goat to San Francisco and avoid the varied humans and androids trying to kill them along the way...As I summarize this, I realize how completely absurd it sounds...and yet, I kind of loved it. Truckee has heart, and so does his story. I especially enjoyed the writing itself, which is packed full of vivid figurative language. Too bad all those vivid comparisons are to things like bodily excretions and the colors of toxic chemicals—Truckee’s only points of reference. Truckee also mentions balls an awful lot, but again, that’s probably authentic for an undereducated 16-year-old boy in a ruined world. If you can stomach that kind of thing, I highly recommend this hilarious dystopian adventure.
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  • B220
    January 1, 1970
    In 2085, the United States is no longer. Instead it is quite divided for a variety of geographical, economic, and political reasons and not all of them are good ones. In a futuristic and tech heavy world, Truckee Wallace is as close to a nobody as you can get. Then, his whole world get turned upside down as he is "asked" by the President to trek cross continent in an effort to save humanity as he knows it.So, since he basically has no other choice, Truckee begins his mission. He is joined by an In 2085, the United States is no longer. Instead it is quite divided for a variety of geographical, economic, and political reasons and not all of them are good ones. In a futuristic and tech heavy world, Truckee Wallace is as close to a nobody as you can get. Then, his whole world get turned upside down as he is "asked" by the President to trek cross continent in an effort to save humanity as he knows it.So, since he basically has no other choice, Truckee begins his mission. He is joined by an android and a talking goat (yes you read that right) and he encounters quite a few new friends and definite enemies along the way.The last few chapters of this epic journey are a whirlwind, to be sure. There were times along Truckee's quest that I was like, "What the heck is going on here?" in much the same way that Truckee often wondered the very same thing. This book is a mind bending, laugh inducing trip to be sure. It'll make you want to crawl into author Reed King's head and see just what else might be floating around as possible ideas for future books!
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  • InBooksILive Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    I really don't know what more I can say about this book than to say that I absolutely loved it. Every single crazy, what the hell is going on right now chapter!Truckee Wallace is my damn hero. He is a smart mouthed, completely dumb but smart at the same time kind of character and I adore him. Tiny Tim.. oh Tiny Tim.. I can't even say what I want about him cause I'd spoil the ending. He's special, let's say. I highly enjoyed him. Barnaby the talking goat. Exactly how I would expect a talking goat I really don't know what more I can say about this book than to say that I absolutely loved it. Every single crazy, what the hell is going on right now chapter!Truckee Wallace is my damn hero. He is a smart mouthed, completely dumb but smart at the same time kind of character and I adore him. Tiny Tim.. oh Tiny Tim.. I can't even say what I want about him cause I'd spoil the ending. He's special, let's say. I highly enjoyed him. Barnaby the talking goat. Exactly how I would expect a talking goat to speak. Trying to act like he's the more sophisticated creature while he's chewing up some moldy garbage. But this wouldn't be the incredible book it was without his 50 cents. I just know, there had better be a book #2. And I cannot wait for it to come out and rock my world and make me laugh my ass off again.
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  • Tim Joseph
    January 1, 1970
    Look. I'm not a huge 'madcap adventure' guys, so read this with a grain of salt... I mean, Hitchhiker's, Yes. Princess Bride? Classic.FKA...? This started off as a great idea, for me. I mean, a Wizard of Oz-like theme was what was promised in a dystopia setting.As I got further in, the more... Colorful.... It got. And, I mean, it had a lot! Robots, talking donkeys, furry snoopers... A lot.Suffice it to say that if I rated in on displayed imagination, this would be a 5... But I just didn't enjoy Look. I'm not a huge 'madcap adventure' guys, so read this with a grain of salt... I mean, Hitchhiker's, Yes. Princess Bride? Classic.FKA...? This started off as a great idea, for me. I mean, a Wizard of Oz-like theme was what was promised in a dystopia setting.As I got further in, the more... Colorful.... It got. And, I mean, it had a lot! Robots, talking donkeys, furry snoopers... A lot.Suffice it to say that if I rated in on displayed imagination, this would be a 5... But I just didn't enjoy it.
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  • Lewis Szymanski
    January 1, 1970
    Well, this is a fun book. I'd even call it a fun page-turner for summer reading. It's not Shakespeare, but it is very entertaining. The setting is a cyberpunk dystopia on the brink of ecological and military apocalypse. The hero, 16-year-old Truckee Wallace is given the task of saving the world by getting a talking goat from Little Rock to San Francisco. Reed King, whoever they are, borrows many tropes from The Wizard of Oz. There is much amusing abuse of footnotes. The blurbs on the back of the Well, this is a fun book. I'd even call it a fun page-turner for summer reading. It's not Shakespeare, but it is very entertaining. The setting is a cyberpunk dystopia on the brink of ecological and military apocalypse. The hero, 16-year-old Truckee Wallace is given the task of saving the world by getting a talking goat from Little Rock to San Francisco. Reed King, whoever they are, borrows many tropes from The Wizard of Oz. There is much amusing abuse of footnotes. The blurbs on the back of the book are all fake.
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  • Matthew Sciarrino
    January 1, 1970
    The author (supposedly famous) who writes under a pseudonym, writes an interesting commentary on our nation using the time honored method of a sci-fi dystopian story (the land of the Formerly Known as United States in 2085j. What is “new” is that it’s a bit of a retelling of the Wizard of Oz at the sane time. The story is WoO meets Hitchhikers Guide (although here it is the Grifter’s Guide to the Territories FKA USA), meets Ready Player One. It’s long, but well written and fun. Warner Bros has p The author (supposedly famous) who writes under a pseudonym, writes an interesting commentary on our nation using the time honored method of a sci-fi dystopian story (the land of the Formerly Known as United States in 2085j. What is “new” is that it’s a bit of a retelling of the Wizard of Oz at the sane time. The story is WoO meets Hitchhikers Guide (although here it is the Grifter’s Guide to the Territories FKA USA), meets Ready Player One. It’s long, but well written and fun. Warner Bros has purchased the rights, and although I’m not sure it would be a great movie I could see it a a 10 episode show, like Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
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  • Jypsy
    January 1, 1970
    FKA USA is a dystopian fiction novel. In the formerly known as United States, government corporations are in charge. It's not difficult to imagine the scenario. We have a group of misfits embarking on a journey to save something. It's a formulaic story but still entertaining. The story is funny and sarcastic and witty instead of the usual bleak and dreary future I've read about. It's a good read overall but not the best I've ever read. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest rev FKA USA is a dystopian fiction novel. In the formerly known as United States, government corporations are in charge. It's not difficult to imagine the scenario. We have a group of misfits embarking on a journey to save something. It's a formulaic story but still entertaining. The story is funny and sarcastic and witty instead of the usual bleak and dreary future I've read about. It's a good read overall but not the best I've ever read. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I gave up on this vulgar book. There is a time and place for adjectives and synonyms to the word penis, but it is not enjoyable (for me personally) to be all of the descriptive options available to this obviously male writer. I hope he cracks open a thesaurus someday and stops solely consulting online porn for his inspiration. Please remember the other half of the human population next time.
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  • Jeff Eckert
    January 1, 1970
    The concept of this novel is interesting - post-apocalyptic America governed by corporations in a largely feudal existence, as a result of myopic capitalism and personal greed by those in positions of power.I'm 80 pages in, and I won't finish it.The narrative style is first-person limited, entirely through the eyes of the main character (Truckee). Unfortunately, he's incredibly stupid. Narratively important, but I just can't stand experiencing events through his eyes (and, frequently, boners).Wh The concept of this novel is interesting - post-apocalyptic America governed by corporations in a largely feudal existence, as a result of myopic capitalism and personal greed by those in positions of power.I'm 80 pages in, and I won't finish it.The narrative style is first-person limited, entirely through the eyes of the main character (Truckee). Unfortunately, he's incredibly stupid. Narratively important, but I just can't stand experiencing events through his eyes (and, frequently, boners).Whoever Reed King actually is (acknowledged as a pseudonym in the liner notes), they have a good concept, and the appendices / footnotes written in a more developed language are interesting and clever. The choice to use Truckee's internal voice as narration feels like a tribute to Forrest Gump, but I feel it was a major misstep here.
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  • Bargle
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.Not great, not terrible. Lots of 'behind the corporate doors' intrigue and our hero running around trying to figure out what's going on and who's trying to kill him. The talking goat character is somewhat charming. The author did leave the door open for a sequel.One thing did constantly annoy me throughout the book. Most of the characters say 'must of, would of could of' instead of 'must've, would've, could've'. Some characters do use t I received this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.Not great, not terrible. Lots of 'behind the corporate doors' intrigue and our hero running around trying to figure out what's going on and who's trying to kill him. The talking goat character is somewhat charming. The author did leave the door open for a sequel.One thing did constantly annoy me throughout the book. Most of the characters say 'must of, would of could of' instead of 'must've, would've, could've'. Some characters do use the correct words, so it isn't the author not knowing better. Rather it seems to be an attempt to make us feel the characters are poorly educated. It got to feel like I was being beat over the head with it. They're poorly educated so they don't speak quite correctly. I get it. It goes on through the whole story.
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  • Geoffrey
    January 1, 1970
    (Note: I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley)The future "FKA USA," is a combination of mega-corporation, post-environmental catastrophes, cold wars running hot, Balkanized lands mixed with lawless (and barely inhabitable) flyover country, and a pervasive sense that what's left of humanity isn't too far away from the final curtain, to name just a few of the main ingredients in this gritty world. It's also a future that stings hard with its uncomfortable familiarity, but despite thi (Note: I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley)The future "FKA USA," is a combination of mega-corporation, post-environmental catastrophes, cold wars running hot, Balkanized lands mixed with lawless (and barely inhabitable) flyover country, and a pervasive sense that what's left of humanity isn't too far away from the final curtain, to name just a few of the main ingredients in this gritty world. It's also a future that stings hard with its uncomfortable familiarity, but despite this punch this book will prove hard to set down thanks to a strange cast of characters stuck on an epic (and also absurd) journey that brings new twists and turns with every new chapter. The setting and bite of "FKA USA" makes it a perfect satire for the current times. But not only that, this book is flat-out one of the most fun reads I've had the pleasure of enjoying in a while. I never knew that humor and post-apocalypse could work together, but here Reed King makes them mix as well as peanut butter and jelly. This is definitely a recommend for anyone to travel to an American that's both like and unlike what they've ever known, and definitely don't mind strapping in for a wild ride.
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  • Chelz Lor
    January 1, 1970
    For this and more Dystopian horror reviews, please check out my website, ChelzLor.com***Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a honest review***There was a time that I was really into Dystopian Novels. They presented a “world after” that could be either horrifying, struggling, or uplifting in the face of change. (Most were horrifying). I can understand that and find the entertainment/learning value in novels that represent all that is bad about our world eventually destroying it. Wha For this and more Dystopian horror reviews, please check out my website, ChelzLor.com***Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a honest review***There was a time that I was really into Dystopian Novels. They presented a “world after” that could be either horrifying, struggling, or uplifting in the face of change. (Most were horrifying). I can understand that and find the entertainment/learning value in novels that represent all that is bad about our world eventually destroying it. What makes F/K/A USA by Reed King different from these is that it adds a touch of humor and, for lack of a better way to describe it, a sense of the humanity the characters are striving to save.The first thing we realize is that the United States is no more (obviously) F/K/A stands for Formerly Known As. The states have all seceded leaving the land ridden with war torn territories instead. In the midst of this a nobody teen named Truckee, from Crunchtown 407 (formerly Little Rock, Arkansas), is entrusted with a political mission after a mishap happens within his own territory. He is to get the talking goat Barnaby across the borders of all the other territories and deliver him to a military base in San Francisco.GOOD POINT: Barnaby. If there was one thing I could point to as the beacon of light in this story, that didn’t always hold up for me, it would be the wise cracking talking goat himself. There wasn’t a scene that he was a part of that I didn’t enjoy. I really loved his banter and just the character overall.Along the way the two are joined by Sammi, an android and good friend of Truckee’s on her own journey to be human and a lobotomized criminal who says he is a Grifter (a kind of traveling homeless person that specializes in trade) and claims he has been all across the territories.This story is not smooth. What I mean is there were moments that felt like they were added to reveal something about the world building only to have it interrupted by the main story line with no real flow. It caused some serious whiplash that I didn’t appreciate. While I was able to keep up and understand the gist of what was going on I do feel that I missed quite a bit of what the Author may have wanted me to get. Unfortunately, I just don’t think I can read it all over again to try and find what it was I may have missed.Another possibility is everything I think I missed is hidden within the multitude of footnotes that were included at the end of almost every chapter. I hate footnotes and I especially hate them when they really serve no purpose. I started reading them in the beginning only to be gifted definitions of the slang terms being used by the characters. Listen, a swear is a swear no matter the word you use and we as readers can figure it out based on the context of the moment. The footnotes were unnecessary in my opinion and did nothing but bog down the story. I got the gist of what was happening and if understanding fully took a few more paragraphs each chapter with some back story, so be it. I would have read that, but I’m not going to read little bitty footnotes.I can see why it gets the comparison of a mix of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Wizard of Oz, and Ready Player One. I can address each of these because the similarities are not very subtle, which in my opinion, makes it not very original.In this story we have the Grifter’s Guide to the Territories. While it doesn’t play as big of a role as the Hitchhiker’s Guide did it’s in there to spout quotes at the beginning of each chapter and then finally as a physical object that Truckee carries around and glances at occasionally. There is a rag tag group each in need of something to make them whole. For Truckee it’s finding his place, for Barnaby it’s courage, for Sammi it’s heart, and for Tiny Tim it’s a brain (lobotomies will do that to ya) a la The Wizard of Oz. As for the Ready Player One comparison it’s evident that they live in a future in which tech is a major part of their lives. The big similarity is the visor that Truckee uses to cruse the internet or the “back net” called the Yellow Brick Road (Head meet brick).I wasn’t bothered by the fact that this is literally what the book is compared to in it’s synopsis and then to have it presented this way, but I did give a major eye roll as each thing was mentioned in the book. I got over it quickly though, because sometimes there just aren’t fresh ideas, but the other parts of the book were their own and it helped me look beyond these comparisons.I wasn’t a big fan of the MC. Truckee was a lack luster “chosen one” and I get that may have been the point as the story progresses, but it still wasn’t enough for me to root for him. He was basically a hormonal teen that wanted to bang anything just for the chance to loose his virginity and then when it happens it is just dropped on the floor like an egg, which begs the question what was the point of his character then?GOOD POINT: There were a lot of visuals that I enjoyed. While it didn’t feel like the world building was completely complete, what was done left me with a great sensory awareness. Few Dystopian stories focus so heavily on the world itself, instead focusing on the characters. It was nice getting some good visuals of the world the characters were living in. From the weird cults, to the androids living with the humans. Each territory seemed to have it’s own thing and it’s impressive that King managed that.This book was descent and I hear that Warner Bros. has purchased the rights. I can only hope that with the level of detail that King undertook that they go the route of television series versus feature film.BAD POINT: Appendix A through F (These are worse to have than footnotes and also did not read).Anticipated Publication date: June 18th 20193.5 Out Of 5 Stars
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  • TJ Byrnes
    January 1, 1970
    This is one hell of a novel!Truckee Wallace, a virgin out of the Crunch corporation territories, has to bring a wimpy talking goat named Barnaby to the famed city of San Francisco. On the way, he meets a bizarre cast of characters that include a Straw Man named Tiny Tim, a girl who's VR avatar is a purple cat, members of a religious sect that worship Elvis Presley, and Devil-worshipers who mistake Barnaby as their satanic messiah. I really liked this novel, the author threw everything at the wal This is one hell of a novel!Truckee Wallace, a virgin out of the Crunch corporation territories, has to bring a wimpy talking goat named Barnaby to the famed city of San Francisco. On the way, he meets a bizarre cast of characters that include a Straw Man named Tiny Tim, a girl who's VR avatar is a purple cat, members of a religious sect that worship Elvis Presley, and Devil-worshipers who mistake Barnaby as their satanic messiah. I really liked this novel, the author threw everything at the wall, and most of the ideas stuck. I can only imagine he elevator pitch he gave to the publisher/editor when they sat down for a meeting. The cross-pollination of it's influences are very apparent, but, to me, they didn't hold the story back from being unoriginal. I'm increasingly reading books that are simultaneously familiar and new, and this met the bill. Equal parts the Wizard of Oz (a Straw Man, a robot that wants emulate human feelings, a wimpy talking goat, and a boy who desperately wants to return to his home), the adolescent humor of the classic coming-of-age film Superbad, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the Grifter's Guide to the Territories FKA USA), general dystopian fiction, and Isaac ASimov's Robot series, FKA USA wears it's influences like a tacky, over commercialized full body track suit. The Good: It reads very easy (listens, I read the audiobook) with short chapters. The novel is sprawling, meeting and assembling a colorful cast of characters that I would love to see in a comic book adaptation. I'm a fan of the Wizard of Oz because it's so bizarre, and that barrenness is echoed and amped up. Things happen for no reason and the characters have to wade through it. The dig at communal life made me chuckle. The Bad: Each chapter opens with an excerpt from The Grifter's Guide and is footnoted within the chapters. I like the idea, but the HHGTTG does this much better at sprinkling info here and there. Like a few interludes by characters that only appear in the narrative for a short while, it interrupts the story. Additional material is pretty heavy-handed in FKA USA, and at the end of the book there's four appendices detailing info that's unnecessary to the narrative. The world building is a hallmark of the novel, and I smell a sequel with all this bonus material thrown in. Conclusion: This a great read/listen and perfect for sci-fi fans that want something familiar and fun. This is a dude novel, to borrow a phrase from a review of The Oracle Year by Charles Soule, this is total "dick lit". I'm very curious to see what my elder female fellow bookseller thinks of this, or even if she finished it.
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  • Adrienne
    January 1, 1970
    I've always maintained that when the apocalypse happens, I want to die in the first wave. Fast, relatively painlessly, clean. No drawn-out suffering. No huge moral dilemmas. No crazy Mad Max scenarios. Just, poof - gone. Game over. FKA USA totally and completely reinforces that desire. If this is the future that's coming, thanks, but no thanks, I'm good. Just let me go quickly in one of the several nasty ways it Reed King kills off my fellow Oklahoma citizens - sinkhole, tornado, whatever. Just I've always maintained that when the apocalypse happens, I want to die in the first wave. Fast, relatively painlessly, clean. No drawn-out suffering. No huge moral dilemmas. No crazy Mad Max scenarios. Just, poof - gone. Game over. FKA USA totally and completely reinforces that desire. If this is the future that's coming, thanks, but no thanks, I'm good. Just let me go quickly in one of the several nasty ways it Reed King kills off my fellow Oklahoma citizens - sinkhole, tornado, whatever. Just let it be quick and early please. I just don't want to suffer. Or have to turn into the kind of person who is okay with killing other people to survive. Look, this is a good book. But it's scary as hell. Seriously, it's terrifying in the same way that Idiocracy has become something of a horror movie in the last few years. Because it just seems so damned plausible. Well, parts of it, anyway.FKA USA is the start of an epic dystopian journey. I'm guessing from the abrupt, cliff-hanger ending that this is going to be part of a series of books and I can't wait for the next installment, if that's true. Look, it might have been the scariest book I've read so far this year, but it's also one of the best and most memorable. Truckee Wallace, the hero of the story, isn't always smart or likeable, but you just can't help but root for him on his impossible journey across the territories formerly known as (FKA) the United States with his talking goat sidekick, Barnaby. Reed King has created a meticulously plotted out universe for this story, complete with explanatory footnotes and appendices that add so much to the whole reading experience. If you've read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel, you'll understand what I mean. FKA USA will be released on June 18. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My honest assessment of this book is that it is a must-read!
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  • Ian
    January 1, 1970
    A big thank you to Goodreads and Flatiron for providing me with this giveaway win, out June 18!This is really more of a 3.5 star read, but we all know Goodreads and the half-star conundrum.Where my weird dystopian fans at? Have I got a book for you! This is for people who read Ready Player One and thought, "Huh. I wonder what the social politics outside of the OASIS are..."This is a combination of some serious weird fanboy faves. I've already mentioned RPO, but it also reminded me a lot of Mel B A big thank you to Goodreads and Flatiron for providing me with this giveaway win, out June 18!This is really more of a 3.5 star read, but we all know Goodreads and the half-star conundrum.Where my weird dystopian fans at? Have I got a book for you! This is for people who read Ready Player One and thought, "Huh. I wonder what the social politics outside of the OASIS are..."This is a combination of some serious weird fanboy faves. I've already mentioned RPO, but it also reminded me a lot of Mel Brooks' 2030. The total cluster that is the FKA (Formerly Known As) USA also brought to mind strong cult-classic Idiocracy throwbacks. And the inclusion of hilarious world-building footnotes (this book runs in the vein of The Handmaid's Tale as a reflection on a found memoir) reminded me a lot of the tone of Welcome to Night Vale.This book will not leave you changed or contemplative or even hyped up, but it's a fun escapist read perfect for RPO fans looking to fill a void and fanfolks wanting a beach read.
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  • Alicia (Alicia Reads It)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 30ish%The concept of this book quite intrigued me--post apocalyptic America, compared to other books I quite enjoyed, and also being written by a big novelist under a pseudonym? Yes Please! I love a good dystopian novel, and the pseudonym part intrigued me. Sadly... this is a big NO from me.This book was honestly so poorly written I couldn't even get through the whole thing. The usage of foot notes and appendices on every single page is horribly annoying and made the reading choppy at best DNF @ 30ish%The concept of this book quite intrigued me--post apocalyptic America, compared to other books I quite enjoyed, and also being written by a big novelist under a pseudonym? Yes Please! I love a good dystopian novel, and the pseudonym part intrigued me. Sadly... this is a big NO from me.This book was honestly so poorly written I couldn't even get through the whole thing. The usage of foot notes and appendices on every single page is horribly annoying and made the reading choppy at best. The narrative style is 1st person, and the MC Truckee is horrifyingly stupid. He is almost a homage to Forrest Gump, but poorly done. The author "Reed King" also used a terribly excessive amount of "could of" instead of "could have". Plus this book was filled FULL (what I managed to read anyways) with disgusting and objectifying sexual comments that were unnecessary and made me truly dislike the author and MC. Especially the comments about consent being "bothersome for his poor young sexuality" and also the frequent arousal of our MC which we had to see through his perspective and I could not stand.Whoever "Reed King" actually is made a major misstep here. It was dull, and truly unreadable. This was a HARD pass from me. I received an eARC from NetGalley and Flatiron Books in exchange for my honest review.
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